This is a guest post by Wistoovern, a long time priest raider and real life friend of mine. I don’t often, if ever receive guest posts. I’m posting this because as someone who finds themselves playing World of Warcraft for a very long time, and managing other folks that do, this is something that’s always on my mind. People quit, leave the game for many reasons, but sometimes it’s hard to really put yourself in the mindset of the person who quit. Hoping that this perspective post will aid others in empathizing with those who no longer raid or play the game with you.
So, I stopped playing WoW about three months ago. It wasn’t a simple decision.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. ”He left WoW because he hates what the game’s become” or “because it’s changed so much”. That’s really not the case. Yeah, it’s changed. Some ways were for the better, some weren’t, some were reversed. There’s two points to this post: one, to thank to Devs; two, to note how much harder it is to get it out of my life than off of my computer.
I mean, does anyone REALLY think that it was so much better ‘back then’? I don’t just mean the obvious “I could sneeze on my keyboard and out-heal what I was doing at level 60″. I mean the real gameplay. Not only was there no flying in Vanilla, the flight paths weren’t even connected to each other. We had no dual specs, no Jewelcrafting or Inscription, nodailies, no “Will not be Traded” option when Enchanting or Lockpicking, no Horde pallies orAlliance shamans, no reforging, no vendor mounts, no Mass Resurrection, no fishing tracking, no hero classes, no transmogrification (so your gear always looked like your armorer was the Goodwill), no raid placemarks (remember using smoke flares for that?) no real benefit to Cooking, no warlock portal, and no way to talk to friends on other servers. Mounts and pets were stored in bagspace. Hunters had to carry ammunition. Spells likePrayer of Fortitude were drops, not taught by trainers. Flasks could only be made in one or two places, you couldn’t be on more than twenty quests at a time and the tracker provided no direction, there were only eight races, you couldn’t put multiple stacks of things up on theauction house all at once, there was only one auction house per faction, you couldn’t trackmore than one thing at a time, and mining gave you a single piece of ore for each attempt, requiring multiple attempts per vein IF it worked.
Then there was the big stuff: you couldn’t faction change a character, you couldn’t transfer from PvE to PvP servers, you couldn’t change hair or other cosmetic details, you couldn’t be in a party or a raid with someone on another server, there were no “account-bound” items…
Don’t get me wrong. There are things I miss (how I loved you, Prayer of Spirit…), but for the most part, I like where the game went. Another world, the frozen north, a mysterious island…I mean, they redid EVERYTHING in the Vanilla world for one expansion. That’s ballsy. But oh, the things we’ve lost: my precious Prayers of Spirit and Shadow Protection, priest racial abilities, individual hunter pet attack speed, various racial benefits, spearproficiency (hell, ANY specific weapon proficiency that needed levelling), stacked elixirs,keyrings, ranks of spells, world dragons, separate talent trees, librams, andMORROWGRAIN.
Heh – that last one kinda turns the whole thing around, doesn’t it?
So why go into all of this when I’m leaving? Well, honestly, I’d like to thank the people that have put it together. You didn’t just make it, bundle it up, and send it off on its own. It wasn’t a static item that you mandated changes upon from up high. You listened to us, you tested our ideas, you kept making improvements. And while I can’t agree that they’re all for the better (still not a big fan of pet battles, to be honest), it can’t be denied that you’re out there, and that you’re trying. Thank you from all of us. Even the h8ers would have to agree that it wouldn’t be the same without you.
But in the end, it’s not just the game that’s changed. I’VE changed. I just doesn’t have the same appeal to me anymore.
I would get home from work and jump right into my ‘internet chores’: pick vegetables in my field and plant more, do dailies for rep and luck tokens, farm herbs for my guildies, and wait for raids. There were alts to grind through old areas, achievements to claim, gold to hoard. It became less a game and more an obligation. Raids went from being a group activity that I looked forward to into a dull repetition entirely focused on in-game progress and not the revelry of joint success. I remember one boss in Cataclysm; my guild wiped on it A HUNDRED TIMES (I counted – logs work both ways) before the raid leader finally capitulated (under duress; he was a jerk) into trying a new strategy.
That kind of thing really wears at you after a while. So, I’ve stopped playing. I took out my credit card information to let the time expire. I gave all of my gold and useful non-bound items to a friend and set my good ol’ priest in a nice house in Pandaria to take a long nap.
I didn’t stop playing because the game got less interesting. WoW is still fantastic. There’s a ton of things to consistently enjoy in Mists. It’s just not right for me anymore. I got burned out. And I might be back…but it’s not going to be the escape that it used to be. It’ll be super casual.
And so here we are, three months later. The game has been sitting cold and unopened on my computer since February. I haven’t uninstalled it – I don’t really plan to, I’ve got the hard drive space to burn – but I have been slowly but surely uninstalling it from my life. And it’s funny; I never realized exactly how much I had done to bring it IN to my life. There was a slow, not-so-quiet stalk into my environment, and now that I’m starting to phase things out, I’m waking up to the realization of how far it really got. I mean, three months since I’ve played, and I still read patch notes.
I took off my “Priest” button after it turned out that I wasn’t raiding anymore. I wasn’t as excited to advertise my class when I wasn’t busting heads with 25 people anymore. Just the other day, I deleted the WoW Armory app from my iPhone and moved the Authenticator to an “Unused” folder (just in case I do need to login and deleting/reinstalling the app isn’t smooth). I’ve changed my desktop background from a WoW screenshot to a computer X-ray.
I haven’t taken off the WoW bumper stickers off my car yet. I plan on it, but they’ve been on there for a while. Not only do I have the “SW” and “IF” oval stickers that make it look like you visited there, and not only do I have the Alliance Lion back there too, but I have one that I made myself. Back during BC, I made a set of bumper stickers with raid buffs from images I got online. It was funny to me to give my car Power Word: Fortitude and Mark of the Wildand whatnot. I’d joke around that I asked my insurance company if I could get a deductable because of Power Word: Shield, but that they said I would have to reapply the sticker every 30 seconds. The license plate frame has to come off too.
It’s like the passing of an era.
I just changed my ringtones, too. My default ringtone used to be a murloc shout. Now it’s the chorus in a song. My friend Dean was Nalorakk. Andrew was Thermaplugg. Good oldLodur was the aggro speech of Void Reaver. My fire poi swinging brother was old-schoolRagnaros. The list goes on. And that goes for message sounds too; instead of having the Robot Laugh for my voicemail notification, it’s now a short clip of a scene from The Fifth Element.
I’m just now starting to wake up to how much I had WoW ornamenting my life. Old BlizzCon pass? Hanging from a peg on the wall in the corner. The BlizzCon ’08 and Alliance T-shirts are folded and waiting to be put away. A couple WoW comics are hanging out in my hard drive. A novel‘s on the bookshelf in the bathroom (yes, a bookshelf in the bathroom; we call that room ‘The Library’ in my family). The WotLK poster is down and rolled up in a tube in the closet. My FigurePrint is sitting on top of my USB Hub, and Magni Bronzebeard is bravely defending my cable modem. Will I put those two away? I don’t know; my desk would look so BLANK without them.
The only things I can’t get rid of – and wouldn’t want to if I could – are the memories of playing the game. I remember getting my Realm First achievements and how exhausted I was afterwards. I remember seeing my guildies at BlizzCon. I remember the hours of talking onMumble and Ventrilo. I remember the anticipation in waiting for a new cinematic, reading about upcoming bosses, waiting in line for releases. I suppose in time, these memories will fade – but for now, I’m going to appreciate them and the place they had in my life. My time for playing WoW is over.
I guess the only thing I really can’t get rid of is the lingering sciatic problem I picked up from standing in the store line at BlizzCon for six and a half hours. Ow. …..oh, geez; thank Gods I never got that Tattoo.